Heckler & Koch VP70

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Heckler & Koch VP70
Vp70z.jpg
VP70Z variant
Type Machine pistol
Place of origin  West Germany
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designed 1970
Manufacturer Heckler & Koch
Produced 1970–1989
Variants VP70Z
Specifications
Weight 820 grams (28.9 oz) empty
Length 204 millimetres (8.0 in)
Barrel length 116 millimetres (4.6 in)
Height 142 millimetres (5.6 in)

Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
9×21mm IMI (VP70Z only)
Action Blowback
Rate of fire 2200 rounds/min (3-round burst mode)
Effective firing range 50 m
Feed system 18 round box magazine

The VP70 is a 9 mm, 18-round, double action only, semi-automatic/three-round burst capable polymer frame pistol manufactured by German arms firm Heckler & Koch GmbH. VP stands for Volkspistole[1][2][3] (literally "People's Pistol"), and the designation 70 was for the year of the first edition: 1970.

Design[edit]

It was the first polymer-framed pistol and predates the Glock 17 by 12 years. The weapon weighed 820 g (28.9 oz) unloaded, lighter than most other metal framed pistols of the time. Although the VP70 was the first polymer handgun, the Remington Nylon 66 rifle introduced in 1959 was the first polymer-stocked firearm in production.

VP70 with stock

One unique feature of this weapon involved the combination stock/holster for the martial version of the VP70. The stock incorporates a selector switch that, when mounted, allows selective fire. Cyclic rate of fire for the three-round burst is 2200 rounds per minute. When not mounted, the stock acts as a holster. The VP70 uses a spring-loaded striker like a Glock, instead of a conventional firing pin. It is double action only so the trigger pull is relatively heavy. In lieu of a blade front sight, the VP70 uses a polished ramp with a central notch in the middle to provide the illusion of a dark front post. Contrary to a common misconception, the VP70 does indeed have a manual safety. It is the circular button located immediately behind the trigger and is a common crossblock safety.

Variants[edit]

VP70Z with magazine.

The handgun comes in two varieties. The "Z" (Zivil, civilian) variant is a semiautomatic only version, and although many have no provision to mount a stock, some of them can have a stock fitted after minor alterations to the handgrip (however they remain semiautomatic only); the "M" (Militär, military) variant is burst capable. The VP70 was produced from 1970 until 1989. Four hundred VP70-Z pistols were made chambered in 9×21mm IMI; these samples were made primarily for the civilian market of Italy, where the use of the 9×19mm Parabellum is a sole privilege of military and law enforcement agencies. All of the VP70-Z pistols sold in Italy can mount the stock-holster but are not selective-fire capable.

Users[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kersten, Manfred; Schmid, Walter (1999). HK- Die Offizielle Geschichte der Oberndorfer Firma Heckler & Koch [The Official History of the Oberndorf Firm Heckler & Koch] (in German). Weispfennig. ISBN 978-3000050916. 
  2. ^ David Higginbotham. "The HK VP70 The First Polymer Framed Pistol". Guns.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10. "HK says the VP [...] means Volks Pistole or People’s Pistol [...] This is where another (erroneous) name for the pistol comes from. Vollautomatische Pistole." 
  3. ^ Jack Lewis (12 September 2007). The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons. Gun Digest Books. pp. 250–. ISBN 978-1-4402-2652-6. "Around 1970, Heckler & Koch developed the selective-fire VP70 (VolksPistole: People's Pistol) with the reported hope that it would be chosen to arm village militias in Vietnam." 
  4. ^ a b c Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35th edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.